NFL partially informally expands Rooney Rule to coordinator openings

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The man who served as NFL Commissioner at the time the Rooney Rule was adopted isn’t happy with the performance of the effort to increase the number of minority coaches. The man who currently serves as NFL Commissioner hopes to address that actual or perceived deficiency.

Via Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the NFL will informally expand the Rooney Rule to encompass some coordinator hires. It’s a needed move, especially with the push toward offensive coaches and the relative absence of minority coaches with expertise in coaching quarterbacks, designing playbooks and game plans, and calling plays.

The new provision will apply to coordinator vacancies under existing coaching staffs. It won’t apply when a new coach is assembling a staff.

“That wouldn’t be fair,” Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten told Maske. “I tell guys all the time that when you go in and interview [for a head coaching job], you should have your staff already together. But if there’s a situation where the head coach is already there, that’s when it would apply as a best practice.”

Wooten said that Commissioner Roger Goodell will tell owners whose teams are looking for a coordinator but not a head coach should interview at least one minority candidate. It won’t be a mandate, however.

“It has already been happening,” Wooten said. “That’s the way it has been going. That’s the reason I don’t have to push too hard on that. That’s why we called it a best practice. They seem very open to it. The Commissioner said he had no problem talking to the owners about it. He said next year we should meet before the December owners’ meeting because this year they’ve already had it and that was something he could have addressed then.”

Coordinator positions soon will open in multiple cities, either because the coordinator is fired or because the coordinator finds a head-coaching job.

The new “best practice” raises a separate set of issues in light of the possible firing or resignation of coordinators during the season. As to coaches, the Rooney Rule applies to in-season coaching hires only if the team goes outside the building for the interim coach. In most cases, the coach is promoted from within, and the Rooney Rule arises after the season ends.

For coordinators, a similar approach should apply. This means that, for example, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer will be required (but not officially required) to interview at least one minority candidate before making Pat Shurmur, who inherited the job after Norv Turner resigned, the permanent offensive coordinator.

60 responses to “NFL partially informally expands Rooney Rule to coordinator openings

  1. Just curious why you’re not reporting on DeCastro stomping on Burfict after the whistle last weekend. Right after the personal foul on Gilbert for hitting Burfict late.

  2. a little known clause in the Rooney rule allows for a free pass to certain teams when gauging a football on the field, playing with footballs below the specified PSI, or using a walkie-talkie to communicate with the QB

  3. I know the Rooney Rule is meant well, but all teams are going to do is set up a required interview and then hire whoever they want to anyway.

  4. Its racist rules like this that keeps racism alive. If you want to move forward do it without racism and hire based on talent, character, and dedication.

  5. Even if one doesn’t get the job going through the interview process is valuable. Just like anything else the more you do something the better one will be at it. Eventually, ones experience doing the interviews will help them land a gig.

  6. “Hey you, yeah you pale dude with the curly red hair, come interview us, we have a quota and were short on pale, curly red hair people…” – Said by nobody, ever.

  7. A typical NFL move: Make sure we appear to be doing something, but don’t commit to anything until we find out whether or not it makes us look good.

  8. “…the relative absence of minority coaches with expertise in coaching quarterbacks, designing playbooks and game plans, and calling plays.”

    So, if the minority coaches are not experienced on the offensive side of the ball, they should automatically be considered for a position they are not qualified for? How is this progress? How does this make sense?

  9. THE NFL ” partially informally expands alot of rules ” other then the Rooney rule……..The NFL redraws the rules up on the fly on a continous basis month after month year after year….It will happen to your team…just matter of time

  10. The Rooney Rule can’t ultimately correct the underlying issue it seeks to address. In fact, it makes it worse by strongly implying that minority coaches can only achieve success with the help of non-minorities in positions of greater power. It cheapens the hard work of minorities. It also assumes racism where it may or may not be present. In other words, it’s a bad rule.

  11. I am not a racist but when I see more and more of these type of rules it pushes me more towards that way of thinking.

    If you are good enough you are good enough just look at the make up of NFL teams on racial basis!

  12. I think if I were a minority, this rule would piss me off to no end. I would be thinking ‘so just because I am a minority, I need this rule to help me get a job?? I can’t get it on my own, because I am a qualified candidate??’ This rule is outdated and needs to go away. Unreal.

  13. a little known clause in the Rooney rule allows for a free pass to certain teams when lying on injury reports, videotaping opposing teams, or signing a wide receiver who’s been released because he was arrested for DUI.

  14. This rule really needs to be expanded like all teams must consider a phillapino when looking for offensive lineman in free agency, that fact that they are all whit or black is just latent racism

  15. well -you know what smart people do? smart people study and equip themselves for the jobs that are available. If a minority can’t figure out that they might want to learn a different skill set in order to become a coach in the nfl then they’re not really smart enough for the position are they?

  16. Ladies and gentlemen the NFL of today in a nice, tight nutshell. Partially informally? WTHeck does that even mean? Seeing how the chumps who run this poop show can’t interpret clear, precise rules they have come up with a masterful plan. Write them so no one can figure them out and let heir dum dum call em as he see’s fit. Correct that, call em as the powerful cartel of a minority of owners tells him how to see it.

  17. Can’t we just hire based on best qualified person? Although I don’t think that would’ve helped the Skins because Joe Barry still go the position, and his resume shows no reason why he should’ve gotten the DC job over Wade Phillips or anyone else at this point.

  18. Why doesn’t the NFL list the names and race, qualifications of every applicant. If there are no representation of minority candidates, then there’s racism involved. Why by the way there is, since this dumb rule had to be implemented.

  19. People are tired of this discrimination, and it’s a big part of the reason we elected Donald Trump. How is a white guy supposed to feed his family if he’s not giving the same opportunity? Nobody seems interested in enforcing the laws that protect Americans from this kind of discrimination. It’s the same deal with Joe Mixon. He’s being discriminated against because he was attacked by a girl and decided to protect himself and hit the person back. She was the one who broke the law. As long as we all choose what laws we want to abide by, whenever we feel like it, we’ll continue to elect guys like Trump.

  20. I guess alot of people didn’t fully understand the content of this story. It isn’t a rule mandate that is enforceable. It’s a ‘best practice’ recommendation.

  21. ……this rule is a joke to ALL the owners looking for a qualified head coach…they trot out a minority to fill the interview quota & then hire who they damn well please. Regardless of the color of their skin the owner will hire the MOST qualified person!….it’s pretty simple……. The NFL just does’nt want another lawsuit at their door…..

  22. Affirmative action programs are inherently racist. Enough of such garbage separating people by race.

    The NFL is a results league so let the teams pick who they think is best and let the results decide. A team that excludes the best candidates because of their race — black or white or asian — will soon stink.

  23. Another example of political correctness gone wild.
    Why was there never a lawsuit filed for discrimination before this silly rule?

    How many non-white coaches will there need to be before the Rooney Rule is no more?

  24. Rooney rule needs to be thrown out. Job goes to the best qualified. Soon this race card bs is going to go away and I am going to love it.

    There is no need for such a rule. I, as a business owner, hire who I Ram please to hire and don’t hire who I dam please not to hire.

    What’s the liberals going to ask next ? Equal minority’s owners of NFL teams ?

  25. Did they check with Art Shell to make sure he’ll have time to do all of these extra sham interviews?

  26. Why do they make rules they really can’t enforce? Coordinator is a title and it’s not mandatory that a staff have these titles. Belichick gives different guys different roles and titles from one season to another.

    Zimmer can interview and hire a black coordinator, but if he does, I bet Shurmur still becomes the Assistant Head Coach /Offense or some title like that. What really matter is who is running the offense, not the title they hold.

  27. Yeah, more patronizing sham interviews that rely on the same few RB, QB and WR coaches so teams can hire the guy that they wanted all along.

  28. Will teams have to interview minority running backs before they can interview Christian McCaffrey?….

  29. At least some minority coaches don’t like the idea. I heard an interview with Anthony Lynn (Bills O coordinator) last week where he said that he doesn’t like the rule at all, for the reasons listed by many people in these comments. He said he believes a coach should be interviewed and hired based on merit, not because of some artificial rule.

  30. I’m a black man, that has been discriminated against, I’m in favor of this rule. It’s a good opportunity for networking and a chance to show you maybe a good hire (perhaps for another opportunity). Owners have friends and make recommendations, why not get a referral? You may call it racism, I see it as an opportunity.

  31. Trying hard to keep alive the glory days of the civil rights movement of the 60’s because, it makes me feel good about myself,
    like I have a purpose,
    like..I am morally superior because…

  32. So you want an advantage over your white counterpart trying for a job.
    News flash, everyone gets discriminated against for one thing or another. Grow up.

  33. Meanwhile the Commish cavalierly screws over Aldon Smith, a black man, and costs him millions of dollars and a significant chunk of time available to him in his professional career, because, you know, he can.

    What a hypocrite.

  34. “If you want to stop racism, stop talking about it. Stop making us different by giving us our own history month” – Morgan Freeman

    I’m sure Mr Freeman would agree that special rules would be setting his race apart also. Stop racism by treating all races the same, including pandering with special concessions.

  35. Right – because there’s nothing that qualifies a minority for a position more than the color of his skin.

    Must be nice to get a free pass to the front of the line when others may be more qualified.

  36. Not sure why the call it the Rooney Rule. Why not call it what it is. The Not Sure If He’s A Good Coach We Had To Hire Him Because He’s Black Rule.

  37. A bunch of rich white guys in a board room: Hey! How about we end this perception that we’re racist by making racism a policy? Oh that’s gold right there!

  38. Three cheers to the historically diverse owners of NFL franchises. And you can’t leave out the Commish chair. The NFL top sure leads by example.

  39. If the head coach is black does he still have to interview a black guy?
    Also, does the Rooney rule apply to the Pakistani owner of the Jaguars Shad Khan? If so, both scenarios are stupid.
    Sounds funny, but these are legit questions.

  40. Hard not to notice that 80% of coordinator jobs are held by white men. While 25% of NFL are players are white, wouldn’t you think there would be more minorities in coaching roles?

    To think the NFL doesn’t have a good ole’ boy mentality is foolish when you see coaches like Jeff Fisher stick around for 20 years.

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